THOMSON, Ga. -- As expected, Luther Welsh was officially hired Tuesday night for a second tour of duty as the Thomson athletic director and head football coach by the McDuffie County School Board. Welsh's hiring was unanimously approved.
When Welsh was named the head coach, the crowd greeted him and his wife Ann with a standing ovation.
"I would like to thank the board and all the supporters," Welsh said. "It makes me feel good to know that the people here have confidence in me and I hope that I don't disappoint you."
Welsh, 66, led the Thomson program to two Class AAA state titles in 1984 and in 1985 during his seven-year stint at the school from 1984-1991. He left in 1991 to become the head coach at Camden County. For the past three seasons, he has served as the athletic director and football coach at Screven County.
A native of Sumter, S.C., Welsh has strong ties with the Thomson community and has one daughter, Andrea, who still lives there. Getting closer to the family was one of the biggest reasons Welsh came back.
"She (Welsh's wife Ann) wanted to come back here more than I did," Welsh joked. "But the decision to leave Screven County was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make in terms of coaching. The people there have been good to me. And the kids have been very committed. Each year we've improved.
"Looking at the kids and telling them (I was taking the job at Thomson) was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do."
Welsh won't officially begin his duties at the school until spring football practice in May. He plans to honor his Screven County contract, which expires in June.